The Red Army on a Peace Footing

Orders, Circulars, Telegrams, etc.

Order No.2458

By the Revolutionary War Council of the Republic, November 1, 1921, No.2458, Moscow

Transcribed and HTML markup for the Trotsky Internet Archive by David Walters

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(1) The ‘Week of Care for the Red Army Man’s Kit’ prescribed in Order No.2252 of 1921 of the Revolutionary War Council of the Republic is to be made also a ‘Week of the Red Army Man’s Service Book and Individual Clothing and Equipment Record’.

(2) During this week, commanders, commissars and members of the administrative and supply services are, either personally or through specially appointed commissions, to carry out a check in army units, administrations, institutions and establishments of the War Departments, to ensure that all Red Army men have been issued with their service-books, that the required information has been entered in these books, and that the entries correspond to the facts of what has been issued to the Red Army men and is in their possession, as regards both clothing and weapons.

If a Red Army man has no service-book, he is to be issued with one immediately, and the required information regarding articles of clothing and weapons issued to him is to be entered in it. If what has been entered in the book is found not to correspond to the facts, appropriate action is to be taken to eliminate the disparity.

(3) Political Departments, commanders and commissars are, through guiding orders, circulars and personal explanations, to impress on the mind of every Red Army man the full importance of the information entered in his service-book, which he must know, and, in particular, of the record of state property which has been issued to the Red Army man, and to explain to him the need to preserve his service-book carefully, both as the basic document which accompanies him throughout his military service and as the document without which he cannot be given any articles of supply that may be due to him, either in his own unit or in the event of his transfer to another unit.

Every Red Army man must know the number of his service-book and the date when it was issued to him, and he must check that the entries in it correspond to actual issues, and, in the event of disparities, must report the fact at once, so that these may be corrected. Subsequent statements by a Red Army man that he has not received a particular article, although its issue to him is recorded in his service book or individual clothing and equipment record, will not be accepted. Absence of the article issued will be regarded as proof of embezzlement of state property, and the guilty man will be arrested and made legally answerable.

All articles of state property handed over to a Red Army man must be recorded in the man’s service book at the time of issue. No articles are to be issued without presentation by the recipient of his service-book and, where necessary, also of his individual clothing and equipment record. Persons guilty of violating this rule will be liable to material and criminal responsibility, as persons who have expended public property otherwise than as prescribed.

(4) At the end of the aforesaid week, every Red Army man, wherever he may be, will be unconditionally obliged to have his service-book on his person, and those men who leave their units for various reasons (apart from short leaves and missions) will be obliged also to have their individual clothing and equipment records with them. Without these documents they are not to be issued with any article of supply whatsoever, even if it is due to them.

(5) After this week, and not less frequently than once a month, the commanders of military districts and fronts are to appoint, in every army unit and institution, special commissions drawn from the auxiliary groups of the Workers’ and Peasants’ Inspectorate of other units, with the task of checking that all the Red Army men actually have their servicebooks and that all the relevant information has been entered in these books. A commission’s report on its inspection is to be sent forthwith to the commander of the military district or the front, and a copy handed to the commander of the unit inspected, for him to take the appropriate measures.

(6) All commanding personnel, inspectors and inspection commissions of any kind visiting an army unit, whatever the purpose of their visit, are to carry out a random check (even if it is not possible to do this in all companies, squadrons, batteries and task-forces) to discover whether the Red Army men have their service-books, and whether the information entered in them is correct, comparing these entries with the accounts maintained by the unit or institution and with the actual possession by the Red Army men of the articies of supply that have been issued to them.

(7) If, after the ‘week of the service-book’, a Red Army man is found to be without his service-book, or if his service-book does not contain the required information, commanders and commissars are to impose on the offender the maximum penalty within the power assigned to them, or to bring the man to trial.

All the commanding personnel must make widely known through orders the results of checks, and also the penalties imposed as a result of the discovery of deficiencies.

(8) In all cases when a Red Army man leaves his unit, administration, institution or establishment of the War Department, and also when he is discharged from a military hospital, possession by the departing Red Army man of his service book, and, where necessary, of his individual clothing and equipment record, with number and date of issue, is to be recorded in all accompanying documents issued to him, on the personal responsibility of the persons signing these documents: unless this has been done no travel document is to be issued to him.

In the event that it is found that these notes have not been entered in a Red Army man’s documents, the institution which has made the discovery must at once inform the commander of the relevant military district, so that the commander and commissar of the unit concerned may be brought to trial as persons who have facilitated the misappropriation of public property.

(9) If a Red Army man loses his service-book, or his individual clothing and equipment record, he is to report the loss without delay, through the usual channels, or, if he is travelling or away from his unit’s station, to the nearest town commandant or his substitute, stating the number of his book and when and where it was issued, whereupon the commandant or his substitute will issue a certificate to the loser and inform the unit which issued his book.

(10) In the event that the book is lost in the place where the unit is stationed, the Red Army man is immediately to be given a duplicate and to be subject to disciplinary arrest. A Red Army man who loses his service-book elsewhere than in his own unit is to be subject to the same penalty when he gets back.

(11) In the event that it is found that a service-book or individual clothing and equipment record has been deliberately concealed with a view to the obtaining of articles contrary to law, the guilty man is to be immediately arrested and brought to trial for attempted misappropriation of public property.

(12) This order is to be displayed prominently in the quarters of all companies, squadrons, batteries and task-forces of the Red Army, without exception.

(13) This order is to be brought into force by telegraph.

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Last updated on: 28.12.2006